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Sex-abuse scandal: Parents struggle to regain trust in system

February 9, 2012 | 11:54 am
Parents emerged from the auditorium of scandal-ridden Miramonte Elementary School on Thursday morning, with some saying a measure of their trust in the L.A. Unified School District had been restored

Parents emerged from the auditorium of scandal-ridden Miramonte Elementary School on Thursday morning, with some saying a measure of their trust in the L.A. Unified School District had been restored.

They had attended an assembly held by district officials to update parents on fast-moving developments at the school, where the entire staff was replaced in the wake of charges of lewd conduct against two teachers -- Mark Berndt and Martin Bernard Springer -- and the campus was closed for two days while the transfers took place.

FULL COVERAGE: Teacher sex-abuse investigation

Margarita Gutierrez, 31, said she kept her kids home Monday before Miramonte's two-day closure because she did not have enough information on what was happening. Her second-, third- and fifth-grade children marched back into their classrooms Thursday as Gutierrez attended the assembly.

"We have to leave everything in the past and move forward," she said, adding that two of her children had Springer as a teacher.

Gutierrez said she thought the staff overhaul would help the investigations by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and LAUSD.

"I don’t think it will be right to have people coming in and out of the school while they're under investigation," she said. "It's better this way. My kids need this to go back to normal."

Parents said they were told in the meeting that each of the school's former teachers was being scrutinized and that psychologists would be placed in each classroom.

The news, Lilia Reyes said, was reassuring. She said her son was one of Brendt's student years ago and that her daughter was in Springer's class before the shakeup.

"We got affected by both," she said.

Before she walked her daughter back in to school, she said, they had a little heart-to-heart.

"I was nervous. She was nervous," Reyes said. "When she woke up, she said, 'I'm not going to let anybody break my dreams to go to college.' Imagine an 8-year-old telling you that."

RELATED:

School sex-abuse scandal: Parents protest Miramonte transfers

Miramonte school sex-abuse scandal could cost district millions

School sex-abuse scandal: Teachers say LAUSD "failed to do its job"

-- Angel Jennings at Miramonte Elementary School

Photo: A newly posted teacher leads her students to recess at Miramonte Elementary school, which reopened Thursday with an all-new staff. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

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